If it’s true that trauma affects our identity and personality-then how do we reclaim our identity and reshape it so to speak? How do we become a new and stronger version of ourselves? While we may feel a little lost and not really in touch with our true nature, it is still possible to accept ourselves for where we are now and know that it is completely normal to feel out of alignment and stuck, especially when we are healing.
Have you ever felt like you just weren’t feeling like yourself? Or that you’re not feeling comfortable around others? Or that something just feels like it’s missing? Or that you had lost touch with your True nature? Have you even felt like you were going through an identity crisis? Maybe you’ve even said you don’t know who you are anymore. I just want to reassure you, that all of this is completely normal, and there are ways to resolve this within yourself.
I have learned on my own journey that living with PTSD affects your personality and character; almost like your true nature is buried underneath the layers of Trauma. Trauma changes you; it shakes you from your core.
It’s not just Trauma, or PTSD that can affect your identity; I believe that many mental health conditions can affect our personality. We may feel that our sense of humour is gone, or that we can’t relate to others in the way we used to- maybe it feels forced or uncomfortable being in social situations. Whatever it is-how can we resolve these feelings? How can we learn about who we are now? How can we learn to re-connect with our true self again?
PTSD and other Mental health conditions can mask our True identity, as we learn coping mechanisms that are usually coming from our subconscious places of fear. They are usually self-defense mechanisms, like ‘people Pleasing or fawning-which is similar to people pleasing and common with people with PTSD, and can include, being over polite, and too nice to people, even people who hurt us. They can also be the opposite, such as being cold, aloof, distant, indifferent, over opiniated and tactless. I have found that I possessed different ones at different times, and the key to resolving them, was to first become aware of them. Journaling combined with talk therapy has worked wonders in developing this awareness. But the key here is complete honesty, and this is not easy-most of us can be very defensive when it comes to our true nature. I have found that taking a bird’s eye view of yourself works really well. I learned this approach from Rudolf Steiner, who has written dozens of books about Human behavior and Spiritual insights, and founded the Steiner schools in the early 1900’s. It takes practice to develop the awareness, and patience. He says that we should look at ourselves in certain situations as if we’re looking at a friend, and this will help us to be objective and more honest.
I have found that prompted journaling has really helped me in these areas. By taking an honest look at my life, as if from the perspective of a friend, then I can see why I am acting in certain ways and become aware of how my true self would have dealt with this or that, then I can start to form a new picture of my true self, and start to act in ways that are in alignment with this. I can use each social situation as a way to act in this new authentic way. If I mess up along the way, I will use the same exercises to see why; was I nervous? was I trying to please someone else? Was I trying to make others like me?
By reviewing the past and present in this way, we can start to uncover our true selves, buried beneath the layers and masks.
First of all, we need to review where we are now, and take an honest look at our lives, and what is bothering us. Take some quiet time to your self to do this, maybe light a candle and take a few minutes to relax with some deep breaths in and exhale out all the tension, allow your breath to fall out of you and then connect to your higher self, and ask for guidance as you write-allow the answers to flow out onto the page. Sit with your spine straight and allow your tongue to rest against the back of your front teeth.
Ask specific questions; What do I feel about myself right now? Do I feel that I am aligned with my true self? Do my thoughts line up with my speech and my actions? Do I feel empowered around others? Do I feel that others want to hear what I have to say? Do I try to make others like me? Do I feel relaxed around other people? How could I feel safe and comfortable around others? Is there a way I could protect my own energy more in social situations? Allow the answers to flow and remain non-judgmental and just observe as if you’re looking at yourself from outside of yourself. Be patient and compassionate with what comes up.
Take a certain situation that happened in the past that you maybe regret? Ask; Do I feel I acted wisely in this situation? Do I wish I would have acted differently? How would I act now from the wisest parts of myself?
Forgive yourself; and give yourself a hug and know that you acted from a wounded place that needs more love. Now you can let the situation go, knowing that the lesson is learned and you make a pact to act more wisely in the future.
Meditate on the situation and see it now from this higher perspective. This constant review process has become my lifeline, and it helps me to become clear about the changes I need to make and where I am in my life. I also write about the person I am becoming, the fullest expression of myself, in full detail. Then put this into practice by acting in accordance with this higher fullest expression of you. All of these thing’s do take time and commitment, and sometimes we will revert back to old patterns, this is normal. We are working with deeply held subconscious patterns and beliefs that make up over 90% of our personality, but we can create a new identity and personality based on our true authentic nature by awareness and determination.
It took time to develop these practices. I now believe my trauma has made me a better person. For a time I became bitter and resentful at what life had thrown at me, I resisted it and wished it was different. I was so angry, and felt so disempowered, ashamed and stuck in my life. I lost the meaning behind the trauma. Once I understood that I had created my outer reality, and I decided how to react in certain situations and with certain people, it made me realize that I am in control of my life.
Of course, there were things that happened that were not in my control, but they were part of my life’s destiny, and they were sent to ultimately make me a better person, and the way I responded and perceived them were always in my control. Now I know, that I am also in control of creating a new story, identity and vision for my life- and this has changed everything for me.
I feel like I am so much more in alignment with my true self, I feel way more comfortable in social situations, and actually enjoy socializing again. I feel in control of my life. I feel excited about my life. I have forgiven myself for the mistakes and regrets I had, and learned such valuable lessons from them. I feel ready to share my gifts, and help others. I feel blessed and thankful for everything, and I feel proud of who I am today- That in itself is magic!
Our future self will be a different version of ourself, we will know and do things different to what we know today, we will think and act in a different way. So what will our future self be? Well, we need to decide who they will be, we need to get really clear about who we we want to be, and that will also mean getting clear about who we don’t want to be anymore. So first we define our future self, and reflect on the old parts of ourself that we will leave behind. Then we have to be our future self, we have to think in the way our future self would be, Not who we are in the present, . We need to connect with that best version of ourself, and ask her ‘What would you do in this situation?’ Think of who you want to be in a year from now, then in five years? What kind of essence or feeling would your life have? What kind of people are around you? What are you achieving? What are you doing that you Love and are passionate about?